The NBA Draft is finally upon us. In preparation for the draft, here are three guys I think the Timberwolves should seriously consider adding to their roster on Thursday night with the 20th pick.
- Khyri Thomas SG – Creighton
Thomas is a guy who can step in and help the Wolves right away on both ends of the floor. He averaged 15.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game while shooting 41.1 percent from beyond the arc last year in his junior campaign. Thomas’ three-point shooting will help the Wolves modernize their offense, while his defensive prowess will add a much-needed boost on that side of the ball. At 6 feet 3 inches tall, Thomas is slightly undersized at the shooting guard position, but his 6-11 wingspan helps make up for that and adds some defensive versatility. And with Jamal Crawford opting out of his player option for next year, shooting guard is a position of need for the Wolves. My NBA comparison for Thomas is Jrue Holiday. Thomas doesn’t possess the playmaking that Holiday does, but he can score from anywhere and defend at an elite level.
- Keita Bates-Diop SF – Ohio State
Bates-Diop could be an interesting pick for Minnesota at 20. He had a breakout season with the Buckeyes last year that resulted in him winning Big 10 Player of the Year. He contributed across the board last season, averaging 19.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. He is a solid scorer who can drain shots from anywhere, as he shot just under 36 percent from three-point range. At 6-8 with a 7-3 wingspan, Bates-Diop can defend just about any position, which would be a tremendous help for the Wolves. He had a 35-inch vertical leap at the NBA Draft combine, making a lack of elite athleticism his most notable weakness. My NBA comparison for Bates-Diop is Justise Winslow. His versatility is similar to that of Winslow’s, but is less athletic and a more efficient scorer.
- Kevin Huerter SG – Maryland
Huerter strokes from three-point range which is something the Wolves as a whole typically don’t do. He averaged 14.8 points per game in his sophomore season last year while knocking down threes at a 41.7 percent clip. The Wolves collectively shot 35.7 percent and attempted 22.5 shots per game from three last season, ranking them 19th and 30th (last), respectively. Adding Huerter would help them with their wing depth and hopefully get that three-point percentage up in the 37 percent range and attempts in the 28-30 range (which would put them around the top-10 in both categories, based on last year’s rankings). My NBA comparisons for Huerter are a poor-man’s Klay Thompson and Luke Kennard. He is a better defender than Kennard, but not as good as Thompson. He is a decent playmaker and has the ability to create his own shots, which separates him from the traditional catch-and-shoot gunners. The more I read about Huerter, the more I like him.